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boys at rest stop

Friday morning, the seven of us piled into the Yukon and began our drive east from Michigan to Buffalo, NY, to visit Jon’s extended family. The trip was slow-going. We stopped on our way out of town for an apparently-essential pre-road trip car wash (is this a dad thing?) then had to make two “emergency” bathroom stops within the first hour of the drive. By the time we really got going, everybody was starving and it was time for lunch, so we pulled into a rest stop on the Ohio toll road to grab a bite.

As we spilled out onto the patio to wait for our pizza, the boys piled onto a four-top table and began doing what they do…which is to say, a lot of joking around, pretend-punching, ribbing, and talking about everything from video games to football to Hogwarts. And laughing, of course. A lot of laughing.

I was busy, of course, dealing with getting Clara’s drink and then getting a new drink when her first one tasted “weird” and making sure we had enough napkins and forks and plates and that everyone had a lid for their cup and all those things parents do when trying to manage the feeding of a large group of children.

But at some point I had a little lull in the frenetic preparations and decided to take a picture. I lucked out and managed to get a shot that truly captured the mood: Sixteen-year-old Jacob with his hand affectionately resting on eight-year-old Owen’s head, while Owen looked up at his big brother; Isaac and William, the middle boys, playing a game with an empty cup. Just brother stuff. 

It occurred to me as I looked at the picture what a precious, and possibly – though I hope not – rare, thing it is to have a family full of siblings who are so fond of one another’s company. With an eight-year difference between the oldest boy and the youngest it would be easy for them to have nothing to talk about, but there’s so much common ground between them, youngest and oldest and middle boys. [click to continue…]

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